My Phantom 4: another piece of camera equipment…

Although flying my DJI Phantom 4 ( is fun, it is not a “thrilling” machine to fly.  The Phantom 4 is first and foremost, a flying camera platform.  For thrills, I have a small Hubsan H107C, which flies fast, and, being inexpensive, is expendable.  And, of course, I am a licensed private pilot, so I have had a lot of fun operating manned aircraft, as well.

As a photographer, though, I consider my Phantom 4 to be, primarily, another piece of camera equipment.

So, with that said; here is more video footage that I shot in the El Paso Mountains:




Drone Video: Mojave Desert…

The El Paso Mountains are one of my favorite places; the vast expanses, the rock formations that resemble the grand canyon…

At any rate, this video, which I shot during my visit to the El Paso Mountains a few days ago, captures some of the “expanse.”

My DJI Phantom 4 may have been in “Sport” mode at the time, which enables it to fly faster.  The truth is that I don’t remember.  I rarely fly in “Sport” mode, because Sport mode disables the obstacle avoidance function.



Exploring some desert canyons…

Hello everyone,

I’m in the El Paso Mountains today, shooting photographs with my SLR, and of course, videos with my drone.  Well, I’m shooting stills with my drone, as well!

The temperature is in the 60’s, and there is a light breeze.  I hope that you are all enjoying your weekend.

The danger of inadvertently allowing my drone to stray into restricted airspace is a real one, here in the Mojave Desert.  To keep this from happening, I use the following resources, so that I know where I am operating at all times:

  1.  The FAA’s “B4UFLY” application.  This app. has limited use, in my opinion, because it admonishes one not to fly if you are anywhere near restricted airspace, even if there are no Temporary Flight Restrictions.
  2. An app. called “Hover.”
  3. A current aviation Sectional chart.
  4. A map of the area – such as a road or trail map.
  5. The Back Country Navigator app., which uses my phone’s actual satellite-based GPS receiver.

Correlating items 2 through 5 with each each other indicate that I am not operating in restricted airspace, despite the B4UFLY app.’s admonition not to fly.  Even the B4UFLY’s own map clearly shows that I am clear of restricted airspace.

Still, military aircaft do fly this area at low altituded, so I am extremely watchful when I fly.



Another Firmware Update…

Those of you who follow the DJI Phantom-user Facebook pages have probably seen many of the reports of the problems users have with their DJI Phantoms, after running the required firmware updates.

It pays to keep things in perspective, though.  For every person who has experienced problems with their drones after running updates, there are probably forty people who have not had any trouble whatsoever.  I count myself among those forty, as I have run every required update (that I’m aware of) with no negative after-effects.

I would even go so far as to state that most Phantom owners do not experience these problems at all; I suspect that most of the people who do not experience these difficulties do not post, so all we see are the complaints.

Commercial versus recreational drone flying…

“If I am flying for my own pleasure, and I later sell the video or photographs that I took; does that mean that the flight, was in fact, a commercial flight?”  This is a question that many people have asked.

The rules are connected with the UAS operator’s intentions at the time of the flight.  

Therefore, a drone operator who does not hold a Commercial UAS Certificate, can sell his or her footage and/or photographs after the fact, if the flight itself was conducted for recreational purposes.